TECH
07/15/2011 02:30 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2011

Google Changes How Memory Is Stored, Accessed: Columbia University Study

Does Google make your memory weaker?

A recent series of studies conducted by Columbia University's Department of Psychology investigated the effects that Internet search engines, such as Google, have on human memory retention.

According to the studies' findings, people with access to Google's massive web index are less likely to recall a fact when prompted; however, they remember where and how to locate that fact online.

Published in Science magazine, the analysis of the studies, titled "Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips," also concluded that facts not easily obtained online were more likely to stick in the memory.

"Our brains rely on the Internet for memory in much the same way they rely on the memory of a friend, family member or co-worker," said lead researcher Betsy Sparrow, according to a university press release. "We remember less through knowing information itself than by knowing where the information can be found."

"Participants did not make the effort to remember when they thought they could later look up the trivia statement they had read," the authors wrote in their findings, according to the New York Times.

To read more about how the study was conducted, visit ZDNET.